Ghosts in Breakers Creek by Tony Ashenden

In muddy mouthed Portsea Creek unwatched

forgotten ships lay beached

dashed and smashed

breathless, cut and bled

weather beaten

picked and broken

by the dockside stooping crane’s bill collecting scrap.

Their final passages over shallows

barnacle crusted bottoms

scraping over shingle

pulled and pushed

by impatient tugs

who know falling tides suckling mud claim tows.

Robbed by landsman

written out of registers

deserted bridges balefully glare

untold memories of purposed lives

men who swore repeatedly

like lovers on heat trumpeting union of engine and steel. 

Now their ghosts can be heard

reliving purpose in the night

blowing base horns

heaving anchors

turning their screws seaward

blending rusted hulls to the sea and the never-ending sky.

*Portsea creek and its cutting divides the city of Portsmouth from the Hampshire mainland.


Tony is a seasoned traveller; a computer analyst, seaman, shaman, and a complementary alternative therapist. He is a writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. In his own words – Life is real only then when I am. Please visit his blog Mine Quick Voice of Aquarius to read more of his work.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Tony’s eloquent poetry infuses life and soul into rusted shells of steel and iron, once meant to keep others afloat, now drowned in the tides of time and indifference. Mere objects to some, these ships were once the domain of the living, and carry the emotions and memories from times gone, embedded within their mighty hulls. Haunted or taunted, they rest with countless stories alive inside them.
    Congratulations Tony!


  2. As always Turveen you don’t just scan poems you publish you read and understand their message. I couldn’t have described it better myself. Nobody to my knowledge who publishes poetry on the web does it as well as you. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jonicaggiano says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to the men who worked and pledged themselves to their Country and to their responsibilities on a ship. Your words and phrases make it almost possible to hear the activity that now is lost to the ways of the sea. Congratulations, what a beautiful piece. Hugs and have a wonderful weekend, Joni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joni, as any sailor will tell you ships are living things. As it happens I’ve just returned from conducting a committal of ashes service at sea. The departed in this instance didn’t live to see old age, but he did brave the oceans moods for years and for 32’000 nautical miles. I research background, ships and events at sea for every service I do, very often the family are astounded by what they didn’t get told. I mention this because sailors often don’t speak of their experiences at sea to lands people. The smaller the ship the bigger the seas, the smaller the company the closer they are to the ship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. jonicaggiano says:

        What a most beautiful thing you do for others. Knowing things, to especially a wife, would be a blessing perhaps only a man of the sea could possibly understand. That is an enormous amount of miles. I do believe they are living things that the sea often claims and many have given their lives. This is a lovely thing to know about you and your continued service. Bless you for sharing memories and the smallest story could be the part of that person’s family hangs onto. Blessings my friend. I am not surprised your work was so incredible. 🦋🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice one Tony……..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Don, sailors and ships are restless spirits.

      Liked by 1 person

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